Culture in the Spanish Classroom
There has to be more than just grammar.
As we begin a new semester, it reminds me to look back on the last. Of course we ended our December with the fun and time consuming piñata. As most classes are ending with testing and last minute projects, I use the last week to reward students with piñatas and catch others up who have fallen a bit behind. I really believe that the students enjoy the process of creating these, as well as bringing light to a custom over eight centuries old. While some students seem to create float-sized piñatas, others stick with more traditional designs that are more manageable. Once these art pieces are completed, they are placed on display in the high school library and then voted upon by staff. After a few weeks students will be given the option of destroying one to enjoy some candy, while others may take their work home to share. This year the voting was extremely close with a three-way tie.
1st place and a Three Way Tie
Ninja Turtle created by Trinity Bohaty, Anya Bogen, and Clara Whyman
PHS Panther created by Daniel Frey and Austin Pettigrew
Penguin with ornament created by Jami Gabriel and Taya Ptacnik
Please visit each slide show to see classwork and students in action.
In addition to piñatas as a fun activity, students and I will explore learning via multiple modes. Spanish I students have been known to dance for fun and even to practice prepositions. Lyrics are a wonderful way to teach sounds, accents, and rote learning. Even on a Friday morning students are ready to get out of their seats. As we start a new semester this week, we will be strengthen our knowledge of prepositions via drawing of vocabulary, as well as using vocabulary flashcards to speak and play games about items we have and do not have in our "paper" backpacks. Spanish II cannot be without fun either. We have started a fun unit on housing, which will require students to act out chores and describe a home or even a room to another while a partner draws what they are hearing. Students will also be creating their own graphic novel/cartoon to review vocabulary and a 3D model of a home they choose to design with a "for sale" ad to accompany it. Clearly no matter what level, learning can and should be fun in the Spanish classroom and does not have to take place in a chair. Although students have a great deal to learn, communication is really the key no matter the way in which it is delivered. Variety is the key.